First time camping using my pop up - at night?

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by Camper054, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Camper054

    Camper054 Member

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    Hi all,

    Most (if not all) of you are experienced campers and someone like me (totally newbie) pop up camper is asking for some help :).

    We have a trip coming up in two weeks, which was planned earlier with few friends. Unfortunately, one of my kids have a marching band obligation that evening and we cannot leave until he is done. Basically, I will be arriving at the campsite late at night - around 11ish. I have set up the camper at home but this will be my 'very first' trip to the camping ground with the camper. I am worried if it is a good idea or not. I do not wait until the next morning as this trip is only Fri and Sat nights and traveling Sat morning would make us lose most of the morning. I have some flash lights I will take, plus I also have a 'flood light' that we can use. Did you set up the camper at night? What are some of the things I should be 'extra' careful - other than ensuring the camper is level, wheels are chock, etc.? Maybe I am worrying too much and your comforting words will help :).

    Many thanks in advance!
    MC
     
  2. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    We do but without experience at it, that might make your setup quite a bit tougher for you. I'd suggest all the people who are doing night setup have head lamps. That's the lights on an elastic band, you wear on your heads. Those are the best!
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  3. lostboy

    lostboy Active Member

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    Get some head lamps so your hands can be free and you will still have light.

    Make a check list of everything you need to do in the order you should do it and you can follow that when you get there.

    Oh and be quiet because a lot of folks will be asleep.

    Other option would be to go early and set up then drive back for the competition.
     
  4. campfire Joe

    campfire Joe Active Member

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    Yep Head lamps. And try to be as quiet as possible even with your car doors.
     
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  5. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    Definitely headlamps. Avoid the floodlight that late at night.
     
  6. Minimalist

    Minimalist Active Member

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    The only thing that bothers me is backing into a dark campsite. I have used a small flashlight just as guide in the past. Just put it where I want the edge of the trailer to be. Headlamps work really well. And I like the idea of a check list. That will come in very handy.
     
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  7. Camper054

    Camper054 Member

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    YES! fortunately, we do have a couple of headlamps that I will be taking with me. Actually, they are always in my camping bag! I did not think about being quiet - it is very important! Fortunately, we have four/five families going - so hopefully others are bit away :).

    The flashlight where I need to back up is an excellent idea - and so is the check list - thank you!

    I also thought about going early to set up. But the campground is about 2 hours away! The only other option is for my wife to drive my son to the campground at night while I go before and set it up. We'll see :).

    Thanks all!
    MC
     
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  8. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    Harbor Freight sells big magnetic lights that I will bring along if I know we'll be backing in at night. I stick it on my bumper right before I back in and it lights up behind pretty well.
     
  9. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    Should really be thinking about the other people at the campground, not just yourself. 11 ish is way past quiet time. Just driving into the campground at that time is not good.
     
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  10. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Well-Known Member

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    This may sound stupid, but ask me how I know... be sure to put those headlamps in your VEHICLE, not your closed camper! Also do not let your friends who arrived earlier and are now sauced "help" you.

    I would also say think about how you pack your stuff in the camper. Make sure you have easy access to your bedding and pj's since that's what you need right away. Stuff you won't need until the next day can get crammed away in a cabinet.

    If you are camping with hook-ups, when you back your camper in make sure you go far enough in that your cords and hoses will reach the hookups. Do this before you unhitch. Once again, I learned this the hard way on our last trip where we got all set up and realized our fresh water hose didn't reach. Not a big deal for us, but would have been a problem at 11 pm!
     
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  11. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    Most campers have storage area that's accessible when closed. I'd suggest any items needed for setup like headlamps, be stored there.

     
  12. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Forget the late Fri night arrival. You've said this campground is just 2 hrs away so get a good night's sleep Fri night, leave by 7am Sat morning, and you'll be there by 9am when the campground is just beginning to come alive. We've done this often when we had something on for the Fri night, sometimes we'd even intentionally go early Sat and pay for just one night at the campground rather than two.
     
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  13. Camper054

    Camper054 Member

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    I like the idea of having some magnetic lights! Thanks tfischer!

    Yep, also need to think about how to pack efficiently - including the headlamps and other stuff that are easily accessible right away. I will be pulling the camper with my truck - and based on your feedback, now planning to put most of the stuff in the truck bed :). And, yes, need to make sure that I am close/or can reach the hook ups before unhitching - another great suggestion! Thanks CamperChrissy.

    And, yes, of course, I need to be quiet and respectful to the other nearby campers. Most (if not all the times we camped before (using tents), we were able to get things done before nightfall. And, by late night, we all 'crashed' - so we also would be very unhappy if neighboring camper is making noises. I get it. Thanks to you all for voicing concerns to be quiet and respectful to others. I will not 'forget' this.

    Thanks all!
    MC
     
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  14. Camper054

    Camper054 Member

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    GreyFox, I am seriously thinking about your suggestion. Only concern is that had to get the 'kids' out of bed early Sat morning. But you are correct, if we can leave by 7, which we should be able to as on weekdays the kids are up and getting ready for school by then!

    I think I am going to call the camp office to see if they have any objection for us to be there at that late and if yes, then my decision is much easier to make :).
    Thanks!
     
  15. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    If you are not familiar with the campsite, as well as having a routine for setting up, I would suggest you either do the early morning arrival or take the camper and set up and have your wife bring the kid who has the late activity. (And yes, it can be a pain to have an extra vehicle.) This is not only to be considerate of the rest of the campers but for your own peace of mind.
    It's difficult to see the pitfalls of a site in the dark, and even a basic set up will take more time than when it's light out. We've been camping for 30 years, and I can tell you that late arrivals can wake a lot of folks up and otherwise disturb their relaxation.
    I've even been in a few campgrounds that close a gate at a certain time, so late arrivals have to stay outside until morning.
     
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  16. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, got stuck with child in marching band. Thankfully the younger two don't seem to have an interest in it. Would happen anyway because I'm not loosing half the summer and all of fall for marching band again.

    Before I'd make my maiden voyage that late I would leave early and get to the campground around 8 or 9 the next morning or go that night and sleep in the TV. Setting up in the dark is aggravating when you are experienced doing it as a beginner is asking for a nightmare.
     
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  17. hayyward

    hayyward Active Member

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    When our kids were little and we needed an early start, we'd let them sleep in their clothes. It saved time in the morning and it was kind of fun and exciting for them. I'd say leave at 5am = 2 hr drive plus time to stop for breakfast. You'd arrive at 8 and not miss a thing.
     
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  18. Camper054

    Camper054 Member

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    Thanks to all for your suggestions, comments, cautionary notes! I haven't decided yet. Kind of busy weekend with out of state guests. Will discuss this with my wife this week and go from there. Please keep the comments coming - very helpful for me to know some of the pitfalls and dos and don'ts!

    Million thanks to you all!
    MC
     
  19. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    How old are they? If everything is ready where all they have to do is potty and get in the TV ours fall back asleep in a few minutes if it's dark.
     
  20. Camper054

    Camper054 Member

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    Teenagers - ranging from 15 - 18 - three boys! They actually know the set up more than me :). Last night when I was setting it up, I was having hard time clicking the bed support underneath, which my oldest helped me to lock it!
     

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